Our elementary school is at the end of a Pink Week and I have loved every second of it! On Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017 it was Pink Shirt Day in Canada. As an admin. team we decided to leverage Pink Shirt day to bring our Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy to life and we knew the only way to do so was through student voice.
To do this, I turned to our Grade 7 student leaders and began asking questions such as “How can we spread love and kindness at our school deliberately?” & “What events can we hold to support the vision of Pink Shirt Day that will help grow empathy?” Young people have fresh ideas and oh so much energy! Our week has been a testimony to character and a beacon of hope for our future.
Our plan was crafted to align with our school’s strategic priority of ensuring that our shared values are modelled, explicitly taught and experienced every day along with some events that students name as their most favourite parts of the school year: a dance and a chance to stretch beyond our uniform in a creative way. You can read about the broad-strokes of the week here: pink-week-at-the-junior-school.
My favourite event, so far, took place on Tuesday: Funky Socks Day. Remembering that our lens for the week was the value of empathy our student leaders identified that it is difficult to demonstrate empathy when we do not know each other well. They spoke of the need to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and brainstormed how we could do this in a way that is non-threatening and connected. During a brainstorming lunch our leaders settled on the idea: SEE ME, KNOW ME. Girls were asked to wear socks that represented them in some way and would allow others to SEE them. Some young women wore athletic socks, some socks were mismatched, others revealed a love of animals or food. In order to move to the idea of KNOW ME, we developed a brief interview (tuesfunkysocks)that students used during the day to find out about the statements that our socks were making for two peers not in their grade. Many connections were made and there was laughter in the hallways for faculty and students! I was interviewed during lunch hour in the cafeteria by a bright light in Grade 3 carrying a clipboard and recording every word. She affirmed my sock choice by saying “Your socks represent your dreams for the future Mrs. Skelding. You should wear them at least once a week. That way you will keep your eye on the prize, plus they will make you happy!” #pinkshirtyay indeed! SEE ME, KNOW ME = grow empathy + build community.
Tomorrow, I am anticipating the fun that we will have during a celebration dance!